No, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum did not actually announce his second campaign for president in an interview Tuesday with The Washington Post, aides said.
But the runner-up for the 2012 Republican nomination sure sounded like a man who’s all but certain to run.
“America loves an underdog. We’re definitely the underdog in this race,” Santorum told Karen Tumulty. He said his campaign would be better than the guerilla effort that gave him a filament-thin victory over Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses and enabled him to keep fighting into the spring. (In the end, Santorum one 11 nominating contests, finishing a distant second to Romney in the delegate count.)
Virginia Davis, a spokeswoman for Santorum, said Wednesday that he was talking about a potential 2016 candidacy in the interview, despite the “just discussing what his path would be like should he decide to run.” (even if he did not use qualifiers in his talk with The Post.)
For some time, Santorum has been pushing the idea that the GOP needs to speak to economically-stressed working class Americans – he wrote a book called Blue Collar Conservatives that was released last summer, for instance.
There were elements of that appeal in his campaign last time, though they sometimes were overshadowed by his record as a social-issues warrior.
“Our message will be a lot more focused this time than it was last time,” Santorum told Tumulty.
Factcheck.org Wednesday reposted its analyses of Santorum’s claims from 2012 – including that abortion had caused Social Security to be underfunded, that climate change is a “hoax,” and that the nation was taking in more illegal immigrants than at any time in history.